Library of Congress

Original New York City Housing Authority posters pitch the projects as the 'solution to infant mortality'

When Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia established the New York City Housing Authority in 1934, it was one of the first municipal housing authorites in the United States. The new agency was soon tasked with spending New Deal funds to clear out slums and build government-operated apartments.

With public housing still a new concept in America, it was important to promote it to those who could qualify. NYCHA commissioned artists to design posters that promoted slum clearance and the value of newly constructed housing. The posters consistently use an aesthetic that reflected the architecture of the projects, with modernist typefaces and geometrically based illustrations. Like much of 1930s modernism, there's a sense of confidence in the design, showing the failures of the past and present while presenting the viewer a better, purer future ahead.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, here's a look at some of NYCHA's posters from the era (we highly recommend clicking the "full screen" option below for the best experience):

 

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Attendees at a "Sweat Crawl" through the boutique fitness studios of D.C.
    Equity

    I Survived D.C.’s First ‘Sweat Crawl’

    “Forget what you’re going to be someday—you’re strong … today!”

  2. Transportation

    Ford’s Detroit Investments Are Bigger Than a Train Station

    A 1.2 million square foot downtown campus expands the automaker’s physical stake in the transportation future.

  3. Two women prepare food at a McDonald's restaurant.
    Equity

    We Can Create Better Jobs—by Fixing the Bad Ones

    More than 65 million Americans toil in insecure, low-paying jobs. Instead of hoping they will all find different, and better, jobs, we should upgrade the ones they already have.

  4. Transportation

    Nothing Is ‘Sexier’ Than Building a Highway Over the Everglades

    Days before a key vote, Miami-Dade transit advocates are rallying against a proposed interstate expansion.

  5. POV

    To Build a Better Bus System, Ask a Driver

    The people who know buses best have ideas about how to reform the system, according to a survey of 373 Brooklyn bus operators.